You park the car, enter the building, and open the door to the waiting room, where you are met with the calming whir of white noise machines. Maybe you browse through a National Geographic or scroll through Instagram while you wait for your therapist, or maybe you make a cup of coffee or hot chocolate to sip on during your session. Eventually, you walk into your therapist’s office and sink into the comfy chair of your choice.
Or, alternatively, you open your laptop, click the Doxy link, and wait for the ding that means your therapist is ready to begin.
What you may not realize once you leave the building or close the laptop is just how much your therapist is doing outside of your sessions. Here are just a few things that are part of your Sentier therapist’s job that you may not know about:
- Therapists complete a case note for each and every therapy session they do in order to monitor their clients’ progress and keep track of what is covered in sessions. If you’ve noticed your therapist writing or typing during a session, they were probably adding to the session’s case note. These aren’t extensive reports but rather a quick summary of what happened during the session. What was discussed and what topics did the client bring up? What was the client’s mood and demeanor? What changes occurred between this session and the last? What sorts of activities or exercises were done during the session? Was any homework or practice assigned for next time?
- Every day, each of the therapists at Sentier updates a massive spreadsheet with 18 tabs outlining everything from therapist availability for new clients to new client inquiries to important dates for the team to remember. Each time someone inquires about therapy at Sentier, it is carefully logged in this spreadsheet. The date and times of Sentier’s groups are outlined months in advance. The list goes on and on! This spreadsheet is a puzzle that keeps the clinic running smoothly and therapists maintaining each piece of it is crucial to the success of the clinic.
- Sentier is an out-of-network clinic which means that therapists submit claims for some clients sessions to insurance providers. By doing this step for our clients, we are trying to make it easier for folks to get reimbursed if possible. Submitting to insurance also means that therapists work with clients to troubleshoot with insurance companies if issues with claims or reimbursement arise.
- Therapists also monitor their sliding scale availability. By logging what sliding scale fees they have offered to clients, they are able to keep track of what they can offer to future individual and group clients.
- Your therapist also updates their waiting list, reaching out to people when availability opens up and communicating frequently with clients about scheduling. Therapy is in high demand, and keeping these waiting lists organized and updated is an important part of your therapist’s job.
- Sarah trains the team on HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) guidelines that keep your private health information safe.
- Andrea is the resident expert on Sentier’s Electronic Health Record (EHR). She fields your therapist’s questions about the software and updates a manual that therapists often refer to when they need help.
- Once a month, Sentier therapists gather in the Group Room of our office. We each do a brief check in, updating the team on both our personal and professional lives, and each share something we are grateful for, all while munching on breakfast provided by a rotating member of the team. These gratitudes are recorded in a journal so that your therapist can look back on them whenever they want. The team goes over big and small changes that may have come up in the past month, perhaps about our EHR or how our COVID policies continue to evolve. Therapists bring questions to the team about their approaches to client care and receive feedback and advice on how to proceed.
A few other things you might not know about what goes on at Sentier when you’re not in session:
- Megan can tell who is coming to hang out in her office before they arrive based on their footsteps and her door is always open for a chat or a question.
- Mailboxes fill with paperwork, and then are emptied, and then fill again, and sometimes chocolate or other treats appear in them from the Sunshine Committee. The Sunshine Committee is in charge of birthday gifts, handwritten messages of support and encouragement for therapists, and other random offerings that make our team a family.
- Ashley provides the team with an endless supply of fidgets and help with the printer when it inevitably decides to stop working.
- The thermostat is adjusted often, as half the therapists are always shivering and the other half are too warm.
- Andrea keeps the kitchen stocked with sweet snacks.
- Your therapists ponder the temperature of the lighting in the waiting rooms—too bright? Too warm?—and discuss how the furniture is arranged.
- Jenga, Sentier’s therapy dog, plops down at your therapist’s feet between sessions and looks expectantly at them for pets, love, and apple cores, his tail eternally wagging.
These little things make all of the difference in the way daily life is shaped here at Sentier.
At Sentier, we’re lucky. Having such a small group of therapists allows the team to get to know each other and develop a flow so that we can all help one another be successful.
These personal moments that your therapists share help them maintain the momentum to get all of the other things done. It is a privilege to work with our clients and with one another, and we help each other out so that we can better help you.
Blog written by Client Care Coordinator, Ellie Struewing.